Johnny Depp Takes A Powerful Stand, This Time With Damien Echols, Stopping Arkansas Executions [Opinion]

Johnny Depp and Damion Echols

The last time Johnny Depp took a strong stance against the Arkansas death penalty, Johnny had Marilyn Manson at his side and the Memphis Three were released. Since then Depp has become very close to former Arkansas death row inmate Damien Echols.

For Johnny Depp, death penalty issues have become quite personal. Had Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and other celebrity musicians not intervened, there is a chance Johnny Depp’s good friend Damien Echols might not be alive.

Thanks to Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson’s support, instead of that possible and bleak future, of Damien not being executed in an Arkansas prison for a crime he did not commit, Damien is married, has written a book, and is a good friend of Johnny Depp’s.

On this Good Friday, a day when a certain execution 2,000 years ago is in the forefront of many people’s thoughts, Johnny Depp took a stand again in Arkansas, this time standing next to Damien Echols, one of the Memphis Three that Johnny and others helped to free in 2011. Johnny Depp continues to stand with the men of Arkansas’ death row.

Johnny Depp and Damien Echols made impassioned and heartfelt speeches in Little Rock, Arkansas, at a protest rally. Johnny Depp and Damien Echols can be seen in the video below, speaking out against the upcoming execution of seven men, starting Monday, and continuing for 11 days.

Damien Echols, who knows what it is like to be on death row and also knows the men sentenced to die, stood firmly beside his friend and mentor Johnny Depp. In 1993 Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were wrongfully convicted of murdering three 8-year-old boys. They spent 18 years on death row before being cleared by DNA evidence.

Johnny Depp, Marilyn Manson, and other celebrities learned about Damien Echols’ plight and rallied to the cause. Even though the evidence proved Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were innocent, it reportedly took a lot of outside pressure to get them released, as Damion Echols explains in the video above.

Margaret Cho, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Henry Rollins, and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, together with Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson took a strong stand against the wrongful conviction of three young men, according to this from the Inquisitr.

Damien Echols looks a bit like Johnny Depp when he appeared in court.

Johnny Depp and Marilyn Manson were moved to action after seeing the documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills which detailed the allegedly false accusations against three young men, who were reportedly just at the wrong place at the wrong time. In 2011, Damien Echols and his two friends were released from an Arkansas prison based on DNA evidence, mostly because the celebrities pushed against the system.

On Good Friday, Johnny Depp together with other celebrities, religious leaders and hundreds of others who opposed the executions, gathered in Little Rock, Arkansas, on the capitol steps for a peaceful protest.

Johnny Depp and Damien Echols took a strong stand, but it wasn’t easy for Echols. Damien was held in Arkansas as well awaiting death, and this is only the second time Damien Echols has returned to Arkansas, according to WREG News 3.

“This is probably the single most traumatic thing I’ve ever done in my life after being sent to death row. I honestly can’t think of doing anything that would be harder than this for me.”

Johnny Depp, along with Damien’s wife Laurie, stood behind Echols as he spoke. Damien Echols talked about the accused and condemned men. Echols spoke of what it was like on Arkansas death row.

For Damien Echols, these were not some abstract figures from the news, he explained. These were men Echols knew personally, men Damien said were kind to him when he had no one else to turn to. Damien continued.

“I don’t know if this will do anything. I hope it will do something. I may walk out of here and they may go through with carrying all these executions out. I may not save a single person but for me, I felt like this was my responsibility.”

Johnny Depp and Damien Echols promoting Echols' book.

Johnny Depp and Damien Echols’ words did not fall on deaf ears though. At 7 p.m. on Good Friday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Arkansas execution of six men. The state’s Supreme Court had already halted the execution of a seventh man earlier today, according to The New York Times.

Johnny Depp has taken a stand against the Arkansas death penalty once again, but there was another factor involved. It seems two drug companies that provided the drugs took issue with the use of their medications for the purpose of capital punishment. Fresenius Kabi USA and West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. had already issued the state a refund and requested their drugs be returned, according to The Houston Chronicle.


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Johnny Depp and Damien Echols are taking a stand against capital punishment and played a role in gaining this stay of execution.

[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images]